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Palampur 7 October. A state level Agriculture Officers’ Workshop on Rabi crops was organised at Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University, here today.

While inaugurating the workshop, Chief Guest Dr.D.K.Vatsa, Vice-Chancellor, said that it is imperative to timely utilize modern technology for increasing farm production. This will attract youngsters towards farming. He told that the University is working on use of artificial intelligence, drone technology, crop diversification, etc. He underlined the importance of farm mechanization for saving time, resources and reducing drudgery. He said that there is need of agricultural engineering college in the State. The Vice Chancellor said that it was encouraging that demand for quality seed is increasing but asked farmers to use only University approved seeds of different crops for maximizing their yields.

He said that despite decreasing farm land and deficient rains, country has produced record 330 million tons of food grains. He informed that the crop varieties developed by the University have enabled increase in production and productivity of all major crops but it was not at par with national average. He underlined the need to increase farm production to feed the ever increasing population. He said that marketing network should be strengthened so that all crops, especially millets and crops grown under natural farming system get remunerative prices .He also discussed the need to popularise millets among general masses, challenges of climate change, pollution control, attracting youth towards farming, etc.

Dr.Pawan Kumar, Additional Director of Agriculture, Himachal Pradesh elaborated about arrangements of farm inputs for the Rabi crops. He also detailed various government schemes to increase farm production. He told that a target of 687.37 thousand tonnes for Rabi season has been planned. With a view to cover more area under High Yielding Varieties, 7468 Metric Tonnes certified seed of wheat, pulses and oilseeds will be distributed. Around 54,450 improved farm implements will also be distributed. He asked the University to prepare package of practices for district wise cultivation of millets.

Dr.S.P. Dixit, Director of Research, told that since last workshop, the University has developed four crop varieties. Out of these; Him Palam Gehun 3(HPW 373) and Him Palam Jau 2(HBL 804) have been notified by Central Variety Release Committee. Him Palam Sarson 2 has been approved and forage oat variety PLP 24 has been identified for cultivation. He said that a high yielding wheat variety HPW 484(Trombay Him Palam Gehun 4) has been recommended by research evaluation committee. He also elaborated on other research achievements.

Dr. Naveen Kumar, Director of Extension Education, detailed major achievements in extension education. He told that 521 training programmes were held with the participation of more than 18 thousand farmers. Around 7400 farmers visited main campus and Krishi Vigyan Kenrdas for technical guidance. He told that M Kisan Portal and WhatsApp groups are used to provide advisory to farmers and more than four lakh farmers were provided advisory. He told that Geo Tagging is done for front line demonstrations on farmers’ fields.

Special lectures on ‘Importance and health benefits of millets and their value added products’ by Dr Ranjana Verma; ‘Scope and importance of drone technology in agriculture and its benefits to hill farmers through custom hiring centers’ by Er Ashish Dhiman and ‘Protection of plant varieties and farmers’ rights and its importance’ by Dr Nimit Kumar were arranged for the participants. Feedback and interaction session was also held.

Drs.Rajesh Upppal and Luv Bhushan also expressed their views. University statutory officers, scientists, Deputy Directors and other officers from the State Department of Agriculture and around a dozen progressive farmers like Bir Chand from Kullu,Braham Dass from Bilaspur and Purshotam Singh from Hamirpur actively took part in the workshop.

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